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Speed up, Ravi K tells State agencies at ease of doing Biz forum

Feb 5 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake on Wednesday made it clear that key Govt agencies must improve their efficiency. “We cannot run a Govt with delays of this nature. As Govt servants, you all have to be more efficient in making the processes hassle-free for industries to expand their economic activities,” he pointed out at the sixth Ease of Doing Business forum. Minister’s remark was in response to delays highlighted in granting approval to more..

SLT Mobitel mCash records over Rs. 5bn transactions

Feb 5 (Island) With 11,000 channel partners serving 750,000 mCash customers, we have been able to carry out over Rs. 5 billion worth of transactions out of which Rs. 3.5 billion accounts for utility bill payments, but still we have a long way to go because there’s a mobile-money market of Rs. 75 billion out there, Kalana Gamage, Head-Mobitel mCash said Wednesday at Cinnamon Lakeside. Kalana made this comment where SLT Mobitel mCash celebrated its 2nd anniversary more..

EPF back to old games?

Feb 5 (ST) Questions are raised in capital market about recent behaviour of EPF pertaining to a blue-chip company with many pointing fingers at the state pension fund for manipulating the share market. ”EPF has called more than four stockbrokers and placed sell orders on John Keells Holdings (JKH) in a bid to bring its price down,” an analyst said. The EPF is eyeing a larger parcel at a lower price. “They quoted Rs. 140 per share for a large block, but didn’t specify the quantity. more..

Northern Province Governor on the way out?

Feb 5 (Hindu) Northern Province, where Tamils constitute a predominant section of the population, may soon get a new Governor. The incumbent, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, has conveyed to the govt about his willingness to leave the post. Enquiries made in Colombo and Jaffna reveal that the govt is expected to make an announcement shortly in this regard. Asked about his possible exit, Governor, who has held the post for a year, more..

SL moots business partnership with State

Feb 5 (ENS) The Sri Lankan industry is exploring opportunities in ayurveda, coconut and rubber products in Kerala, said Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka president Sarath Kahapalarachchi. He was speaking to Express on the sidelines of the Kerala Business-to-Business Meet - 2016 at the CIAL Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre at Nedumbassery. Kahapalarachchi is leading a 20-member delegation from SL, one of the biggest at the meet. more..

El Nino has intensified dry spell: Met Dept

Feb 5 (DN) The current dry spell experienced in the country is a result of the EL Nino phenomenon, Department of Meteorology said. A duty forecaster from the Department said that the dry weather normally prevailed at this time of the year brought on by the dry winds which blows from the North but said it had intensified this year as a result of the El Nino. El Niño is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. more..

North, south fishers to protest in Colombo today against Indian poaching

Feb 5 (Island) Fishermen from North and South will hold a protest in Colombo today to urge Indian govt to stop TN fishing fleet from poaching in Sri Lankan waters. All Island General Fisheries Federation (AIGFF) said that the Sri Lankan fishermen faced numerous hardships due to the continuous poaching by TN fishermen in northern sea areas. AIGFF National Organiser Rathna Gamage said that federation together with more..

9,000 forces men strike tremendous tattoo

Feb 5 (CT) Over 9,000 Defence and other services personnel turned out in their impressive regalia at 68th Independence Anniversary celebrations parade on the Galle Face Green and promenade with President Maithripala Sirisena, Chief of the Armed Forces, receiving the salutes in the company of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said 167 personnel represented the Army while 3,857 soldiers made up the impressive march-past conducted to perfection. more..

Standard Credit Finance depositors seek new investor

Feb 5 (DN) Standard Credit Finance Co Ltd (TSCFCL) depositors are making fresh representations seeking a new investor to take over the company. TSCFCL, formerly known as Ceylinco investment and reality limited five years ago was given over to Entrust to be managed by the Central Bank. “This company too has now crashed and now we are helpless,” Deposit Protection Society of TSCFCL said. “We wish to categorically state all of us are fed up of waiting for that tomorrow more..

Conspiracy ousts top NMDRA officials with impeccable credentials?

Feb 5 (Island) Contrary to the accusations made by certain parties the National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) refused to take the blame for drug shortages which were allegedly caused by their delay in registering them. NMDRA sources said that proper registration procedures needed to be followed to prevent the unethical importation of unregistered low quality drugs. more..

Int'l Footwear and Leather show opens today

Feb 5 (DN) The Footwear and Leather Fair 2016, the eighth in its successful series, opens at the BMICH today. The Footwear and Leather fair series is a joint effort of Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Export Development Board (EDB), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Industrial Development Board and SL Footwear and Leather Products Manufacturers Association. It has been attracting more and more global exhibitors since its start in 2007 more..

CID probes FB threats against President

Feb 5 (DM) CID has launched an investigation into the recent publication of death threats and defamatory remarks against President Maithripala Sirisena via social media websites by several people including women, Police said. The number of messages had increased in the wake of the arrest of Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera. “The presidential secretariat has complained to the police about this matter and the investigations have been now handed over to CID,” he said. more..

Prado Scam: Customs union claims to have proof, challenges minister to TV debate

Feb 5 (Island) Making matters worse for Minister Ravi Karunayake, trade unions are fighting to expose an alleged Prado racket which has cost the govt coffers Rs. 3 billion. It is being investigated by the Customs CIB. A SLIGTUO top ranking officer said that all unions were willing to join the live TV debate that JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had asked for with the Minister Ravi Karunanayake to explose the scame. more..

Consulate marks Sri Lanka's 68th Independence Day in Dubai

Feb 5 (KT) Consulate-General of Sri Lanka in Dubai marked the nation's 68th Independence Day with an official function at its premises on Thursday. Programme featured hoisting of the National Flag followed by the National Anthem, an oil lamp lighting ceremony, a moment of silence in memory of Sri Lanka's war heroes as well as a speech by the consul-general alongside representatives of different religions. Messages from President, PM and foreign minister were conveyed to the attendees. more..

Rs 65 Mn busted on MR’s Presidential campaign

Feb 5 (CT) Former Chairman of the National Lotteries Board (NLB), Chaminda Athuluwage was questioned for a third day at a stretch by the FCID Wednesday on allegations of several cases of fraud at the NLB during the previous regime. A senior FCID investigator told this newspaper that a Court Order had also been sought banning foreign travel by the former NLB Chairman. It has bween revealed that in the run-up to Presidential poll, NLB allegedly misused a sum of Rs. 65 million. more..

President: Geneva Resolution misinterpreted to cause discord among armed forces

Feb 5 (Island) Alleging that an attempt was being made to misinterpret Geneva Resolution, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday emphasised the utmost importance of facing the Geneva challenge with patience, discipline and decorum. President Sirisena, who is also Commander-in-Chief of armed forces, asserted that country could regain international recognition by addressing issues raised in Geneva. more..

Who is behind Sinha Le

Feb 5 (DM) What is this movement Sinha Le? Who is behind it? Who are the leaders? These questions had been within the society until a few weeks ago by a group of its leaders who emerged from nowhere who made a scene in front of the Dalada Maligawa in Mahanuwara. In fact the creatively designed Sinha Le logo started appearing on vehicles since late November last year. Many started wondering about this newly emerging possibly ultra-nationalistic movement. more..

What is delaying Right to Information Bill?

Feb 5 (DM) D.S. Senanayake, Minister of Agriculture and Lands and Leader of the State Council, on his return from England having discussed the reforms, moved in the State Council that “This House expresses its disappointment that His Majesty’s govt has deferred the admission of Ceylon to full dominion status, but in view of the assurance contained in the White Paper of October 31, 1945, that His Majesty’s govt will cooperate with the people of Ceylon so that such status may be more..

The Name, Flag & Anthem of the nation

Feb 5 (DM) There has been a lot of discussion on the appearance in public of a sticker with a particular spin on what can be argued to be the true name of this island, Sinhale. Sinha-Le, literally (of the) Lion (Sinha) Blood, with the first part in yellow and the last or le element in red first appeared in social media when someone got a tattoo done, took a picture and posted it on Facebook. Since then it has gone viral in SL. more..

CEB notches Rs. 20 bn profit

Feb 5 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had recorded a profit of Rs. 20 billion in 2015 due to the increase of hydro-power generation with the heavy rains in the catchment areas, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. The board was now in a position to handle its finances without being a burden on the country. CEB would also invest in a wind-power project to be established in Mannar to generate 100MW, he said. more..

54% schools have dengue breeding sites

Feb 5 (DN) Health authorities found that over 54% of schools have dengue mosquito breeding sites. In addition, 40% of religious institutions and 36% of construction sites have either dengue larvae or dengue mosquito breeding sites, Director General health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. 5,263 dengue cases had been reported countrywide this year and the death rate has gone down to 1.5%. 58 dengue deaths were reported last year. more..

Till collection at Kalutara Bodhiya taken by trustees

Feb 5 (SL) Following the revelation of how the Chief Incumbent ship of Sri Abhayarama Temple Narahenpita had been obtained unlawfully by Ven. Muruttettuwe Ananda Thera deceiving the lawful Chief Incumbent Ven. Pathberiya Wimalagnaga Thero, it has now come to light how the ownership of the sacred Kalutara Bodhiya had been unlawfully obtained by a Trust that comes under a group of laymen. more..

Neville Fernando Hospital offered to Govt by chairman

Feb 5 (DM) Chairman of the SAITM in Malabe, Dr. Neville Fernando said he offered the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital to President Maithripala Sirisena to be used as a semi-govt hospital. He said the decision was made by him after realizing that poor patients, who come for treatment to his hospital, could not afford to pay for hospital charges. President was recently informed by Dr. Fernando regarding his offer through a letter, more..

Megapolis plan aims for flexible working hours

Feb 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s recently unveiled Megapolis plan of development envisages flexible working hours as one aspect of transport demand management to address Colombo traffic congestion. “Flexible working hours can be introduced in public and private institutions to spread peak load of traffic flow,” the Megapolis masterplan states. “Employees can adjust their working time without any more..

Unemployed graduates threaten to take to the streets unless ...

Feb 5 (Island) Unemployed graduates threatened to take to streets if the govt did not solve their problems within two weeks. Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion at Maradana, Convener of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) Dhammika Munasinghe said there were 32,000 vacancies in the public sector according to govt information, but no action was being taken to fill them. more..

Singing national anthem in Tamil receives mixed reactions

Feb 5 (Island) The govt yesterday went ahead with its decision to have the national anthem sung in both Sinhala and Tamil during 68th Independence Day celebrations at Galle Face, Colombo in spite of opposition to its move in some quarters. President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and TNA leader R. Sampanthan, who is also the Leader of more..

BIA targets Singapore-bound passengers to deter human smuggling

Feb 5 (ST) Sri Lanka is to step up screening procedures of foreigners and locals travelling to Singapore via BIA, following revelations that Colombo was being used as a hub for smuggling human cargo. The issue was a subject discussed by the Defence Ministry, Immigration officials, Airport Aviation Authority and SriLankan Airlines officials. The move came as a report submitted at the discussion showed that at least six persons more..

CB liberalizes foreign currency accounts

Feb 5 (GDI) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) announces that the restrictions on remitting and transacting foreign currencies have been eased with the immediate effect. "Foreign currencies can henceforth be remitted out of NRFC, RFC and RNNFC accounts and FEEA for any purpose and prior approval need NOT be obtained for such remittances", CBSL said. Up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent can be withdrawn more..

Our Son Yoshitha!

Feb 5 (CT) Madame Shiranthi and former President Rajapaksa grieved for their son with tears in their eyes when Yoshitha was remanded. He has been incarcerated on financial irregularities, money laundering and other charges of breach of Navy rules during the previous presidency. Yoshitha’s arrest (hopefully) should be just the beginning of the Rajapaksa tears, as the “shit has begun to hit the fan”. Little do the Rajapaksas realize that there was a family and nation who loved Wasim more..

Leading Muslim woman says Quran does not bar females from democratic politics

Feb 5 (Island) The Holy Quran does not impose any strictures on Muslim women contesting elections, a Muslim Women’s rights activist and educationist said. Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum (MWRAF), Jaime Ismail, in answer to a question raised by The Island said: "The All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulama (ACJU) has absolutely no role to play in this regard as Islam has held aloft the rights of women and empowered them in every way to uphold democracy and good governance." more..

Professor J.B. Dissanayake

Durdans asked to show cause for admitting Sicille

Feb 5 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya today directed Durdans Hospital Director to submit a report by Feb 8 as to why Lalith Kotalawela’s wife Sicille, a suspect in the alleged misappropriation of Rs.4.3 billion by F&G Property Developers, should be treated at a private hospital and not at the National Hospital. Magistrate also directed the hospital to submit to Court a report on the history of the suspect’s illness. On the request of the suspect and her specialist doctor, more..

Fisherman injured as SL Tamil fishermen attack boat

Feb 5 (PTI) A fishermen from a coastal hamlet in this district suffered an eye injury when his Sri Lankan counterparts, also Tamils, allegedly pelted stones at his mechanised boat at Neduntheevu off the island nation. Two of his colleagues with him however escaped unhurt in the attack which took place late last night. Sekar, Assistant Director of Fisheries, said that Mansoor, suffered eye injuries as the Sri Lankan fishermen, who were also tamils, pelted stones at their boat more..

Sushma Swaraj calls on Sri Lankan PM

Feb 5 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, first day of her two-day visit to this island nation. A warm wlecome by a close neighbour. EAM @SushmaSwaraj calls on PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders. She was received on her arrival here by her SL Minister of more..

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to make official visit

Feb 5 (CT) It was reported, recently, that UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein would make an official visit to Sri Lanka on Saturday in order to monitor the situation in Sri Lanka and the effort of the country to implement the proposals of the resolution passed at the last UNHRC sessions held in September. As the govt made a lot of pledges to the international community regarding promoting reconciliation and deliver justice to those who faced injustice due to the war, more..

PM hopes to strengthen relations with China in Chinese New Year

Feb 5 (Xinhua) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he hoped to renew and strengthen the relations between China and Sri Lanka this year. In a message sent to Xinhua, greeting the people of China for the Chinese New Year which falls on Feb. 8 this year, Wickremesinghe said that he was pleased to offer his greetings for a peaceful and prosperous New Year to the Chinese people on behalf of all Sri Lankans. "May we truly be able to renew and strengthen the warm and cordial more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives priorities for human rights for the UK

Feb 5 (CG) Sri Lanka and Maldives are priorities for human rights for the UK, the Deputy British High Commissioner to SL and Maldives, Laura Davies said. In a blog posting she said that to work on human rights issues in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the High Commission has access to the Magna Carta Fund, a strategic programme fund dedicated to tackling the root causes of human rights violations overseas. more..

95% SLFP members will join us: MR

Feb 5 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that he was not be a part of the official State Independence Day celebrations, although he has been invited to participate in them because he feels that his freedoms have been violated. "My freedoms are violated, my son and my friends are imprisoned, so how can I attend an Independence ceremony with a sense of freedom even if I am being invited?" Rajapaksa asked. He told reporters at the Abhayarama Temple in Colombo, more..

Kumar Gunaratnam re-remanded

Feb 5 (DN) Activist of the FSP Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Gunaratnam was re-remanded till Feb 27 when he was produced before Kegalle Magistrate today. Gunaratnam who possess the Australian citizenship, was arrested on Nov 4 by Kegalle Police at Anguruwella for staying in the country in violation of Immigration and Emigration laws without a visa and later handed over to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration to seek a court order for his deportation. more..

What’s next?

Feb 5 (CT) Sri Lanka and India are to ink the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) before the end of this year, as stated by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Invest in the East Forum held in Galadari Hotel. On the same day, Institution of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL) held the first press conference of Organization of Engineering Associations and vowed to deploy maximum pressure against ECTA. more..